Calling out the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its serious lack of action taken to fight the widespread use and misuse of antibiotics in animal feed, Judge Theodore H. Katz is now ordering the organization to remedy the situation. The ruling specifically calls for the FDA to revisit a previous ruling which, almost satirically, asks for the industry itself to voluntarily limit the use of antibiotics in animal feed for a few specific purposes. The district federal court in Manhattan has now declared that the FDA must reconsider two past petitions filed by citizens asking the agency to revoke approval of some antibiotics still used in food-producing animals.
Issues Concerning Antibiotics in Animal Feed Completely Ignored by FDA
Speaking on why the FDA has ignored the two petitions, which were created in order to protect public health from the massive amounts of antibiotic intake, the court stated that the denial of the petitions by the FDA was “arbitrary and capricious.” Furthermore, Judge Katz has stated that the FDA actually completely ignored the scientific evidence brought forward by the two citizen petitions filed in 1999 and 2005. Ignoring the evidence, which is required by law, the agency instead considered only the time and what it could cost to withdraw the drug approvals.
Katz explains that despite the two petitions leading to over 3,000 pages of court filings that held several scientific studies, “the agency did not address or even mention the scientific evidence in its response.”
In other words, the FDA was more concerned with the costs associated with these drugs than the actual threat to consumer health.
It was the same Judge who called upon the FDA in March to follow through with an initiative the agency made in which the use of both penicillin and two forms of tetracycline would be banned in animal feed. Judge Theodore Katz has also expressed concern in the past over the fact that antibiotics in animal feed are contributing to ‘super’ bugs which are heavily drug-resistant. These resistant strains cost American taxpayers in excess of $20 billion each year, based on the conclusions of a 2009 study from the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics and Cook County Hospital.
Legal action is now being taken against the FDA, an agency which shows its favor towards large industry over the wellness of the general public.